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Jungle Patrol Dutch

Predator
by Monkey Boy

Since the beginning of NECA's Predators line of figures, fans have been asking if there'd be a Dutch. After all, NECA was able to secure Arnold Schwarzenegger's likeness for Terminator and Conan figures, so why not go for the hat trick? NECA, for its part, repeatedly said no. Then, at 2012's San Diego Comic-Con, they blew everyone away by showing not just a Dutch figure, but figures. NECA has several Dutch figures planned, and indeed they have since said that the potential for re-use was the main reason Dutch was able to happen. We'll be getting a "Jungle Disguise" Dutch (aka Muddy Dutch) and a "Jungle Encounter" Dutch (with a vest and no shirt) in Series 9, but the first two offerings in Series 8 are "Jungle Extraction" and "Jungle Patrol." Hmm, kind of a theme going on here.

Anywho, while Jungle Extraction Dutch is a great figure, Jungle Patrol is the one most likely to be flying off shelves. It's the more recognizable outfit of the two, although whether it or the yet-to-be-released Jungle Encounter are the Dutch figure is debatable. JPD features Major Alan "Dutch" Shaeffer in his vest and camouflage undershirt. Like Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen, Dutch progressively loses clothing through the course of the story. His mission begins with him in a button-up shirt, vest, and camouflage shirt (as seen in Jungle Extraction Dutch) and ends wearing nothing but mud above the waist (as seen in Jungle Disguise Dutch).

While there is some re-use between JED and JPD, it's not quite as much as you might think. The heads are unique, as JPD's is set and determined, without the squint (and cigar) seen on JED. It's a wonderful headsculpt, definitely the best of NECA's many Arnies. The vest is a separate new piece, unlike JED where it was molded as part of the over-shirt piece. The sculpt underneath is shared between the two figures, but it was nearly invisible under the separate button-up shirt piece on JED.

The arms are new to JPD, and accurately depict Arnie's finely sculpted physique. The hands are in the same position as JED, with a trigger-finger right hand and an open palmed left hand for gripping the grenade launcher attachment on his M-16. They're not the same hands though, as these are ungloved. The pants are the same ones seen on JED, with the execption of the lower right leg, which no longer has the sculpted straps for the knife sheath.

The paint compliments the sculpt nicely. The skin uses the fleshtone plastic NECA's been using on its Rocky figures and it really looks good. It has a nice sheen, like he's been running through the jungle. The hair, the beard stubble and the camo pattern on the face are all nice, and there's no real slop anywhere. Most of the Dutches I've seen have been consistent, so (knock on wood) this isn't one of those figures where you'll have to sift through lots of examples to find a well-painted one. [Assuming there's more than one on the shelf when you find him --ed.]

His vest is green, oddly enough, even though it's obviously supposed to be the same brown one JED is wearing. Having recently rewatched the film, I can attest that the vest often looks both brown and green, depending on the scene. I'm not sure if it's the result of different props or scene-specific lighting... or maybe vests just look green after being covered in Arnie sweat. Regardless, the paint on the vest looks nice.

The camo pattern on the pants and shirt is very good, and he doesn't have the problem of the unpainted straps seen on JED, since he lacks the specific straps. The small details on areas like his belt (another element shared with JED) and boots all look great, with no slop to speak of.

He's articulated exactly the same way JED was, but this time the mid-torso balljoint works better since it's not covered with a big rubber overshirt. The joints work well both functionally and aesthetically. It really makes you wish NECA would revisit their Terminator figures and apply this type of awesome articulation in the legs.

His accessories are the same ones included with JED, minus one. JPD does not include the "Steek Ahround" knife, since by the time he's wearing this particular outfit, he'd already buried the knife in a guerilla's chest. And left it there, apparently. So in that respect, he's not as good a value since he's got one less accessory. His M-16, pistol, and small knife are still nice to have, though I wish he could grip the small knife better.

Even though he's got less stuff, I still think I prefer Patrol Dutch to Extraction Dutch, by a small margin. This is the Dutch figure I've always wanted, and I can't think of a higher compliment to give a figure than to say it looks like they shrunk Arnold Schwarzenegger down to a 7" scale.

The real question is whether or not you want to get Patrol Dutch or the "Encounter" Dutch that will be released in the next series, and for that it's really a matter of preference. Other than a slightly scowly face, the only real difference appears to be the lack of a shirt. While Encounter represents how Dutch looked in the film when he first confronted the Predator, Patrol is the look most often associated with Dutch in promotional photos and posters from the movie.

I really liked NECA's Terminator figures, which finally gave us Arnold's likeness as the T-800 from the first two films, but putting them next to Dutch really shows how far action figure realism has come in just a few years. The realistically textured fleshtoned plastic next to a fully painted face really highlights the "toyish" quality of the latter.

I really can't recommend this figure enough, although doubtless there will be those who feel the need to hold out for the fully shirtless look. That's fine, if you can wait that long to have a figure to battle with your Preds. As for me, I snapped up this guy as soon as I saw him, and I'm very glad I did.

-- 04/21/13


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